The real world often feels to me like things are moving at this fictional warp speed. Just when I get comfortable with one new piece of technology, there is something new that is faster or more efficient. Desktop computers gave way to laptops years ago. Then, for about two or three years, tablets were the rage. Almost as quickly, smartphones with larger screens had enough computing power to leave a 10 year old computer in the dust.
The push to get an antenna to pick up local digital signals barely made a ripple before streaming video took over. HD radio never had a chance even if the sound was better than FM. Cable cord cutting is so common-place to not be worth a mention. A 40" TV screen is marketed for small apartments.
Read a newspaper? Really? Why? Everything is free, or almost so, on the Internet. And that news and information is instant, not printed last night before landing on your doorstep (or bushes).
Remember the exciting day when your family bought a 26 volume encyclopedia to help with schoolwork?
I was thinking back to some of technological changes in the last 20-30 years of my life and I realized something: I was always at least one step behind:
1) During my career as a market researcher I had to construct questionnaires for respondents to answer, either in person or over the phone. These were usually on legal-sized paper, anywhere from ten to twelve pages in length. While the world had begun to shift to a computer to handle this task, I insisted in carrying my hand-written yellow legal pad notes to a woman who typed everything up. Even though she made a few mistakes every time that required a re-do, I continued to avoid computers for this task for several years after it would have made sense to do so.
3) Years after most folks had ditched vinyl records for CDs, I continued to insist on sticking with my scratched, fingerprint-smudged, large, black LPs. I was in radio and that's what I used to play on the air. That's where music was found! Until it wasn't.
4) Streaming music services, like Pandora, made even CD's seem unnecessary. But, ever on the lookout for the latest trends, I finally bought an Ipod when the world had already decided recorded music was passe. I probably spent months transferring hundreds of hours of music from CDs to the nano Ipod. Now, I rarely use it.
5) There was little disagreement that flat screen TVs produced a better picture, Well before HD became a reality, television manufacturers had shifted from producing the huge box-shaped sets with the slightly curved screens. Never one to rush into a trend, my family and I lived with with the old TV until everything looked a little green around the edges. When finally ready to make a change, I leaped into the past with a 32" flat screen TV. Well, it was bigger than the 28" version we had used for years.
6) Don't even get me started on smartphones. I used a flip phone until the flip part broke off. Then, the only real choice was a phone several sizes too big for my pockets. I even stuck with a pager long past its "no one has one of those anymore" stage.
I am sure you have examples, like mine, where you have found yourself on the wrong side of technology. Has it ever really mattered? Was the quality of your work or life negatively affected? But, now that you have been dragged into the present would you ever want to go back?
By the way, Verizon, I know I have been eligible for an upgrade for 11 months. For now, thanks, but no thanks. My three year old LG phone works just fine.
|So, what was so wrong with Beta anyway?|